Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Recommended Reading: Andrew Loomis

Illustrator Andrew Loomis is revered amongst artists for his mastery of drawing technique and his clean, realist style and his hugely influential series of art instruction books have never been bettered.

Long out of print, early editions of his books have become highly collectible and sought out by art enthusiasts and practitioners but last year Titan Books began re-publishing facsimile hardback editions of the illustrator's guides.

A fourth – perhaps his best known work, Creative Illustration – is due for release in October.
Figure Drawing for All it's WorthFigure Drawing for All it's Worth provides a seminal course covering all the techniques needed to master drawing the figure. Hailed by the American Academy of Art as “one of the most brilliant contributions that figure drawing has ever received” Loomis’s book is packed with beautiful examples to help you master anatomy and capture the human form at any age, in movement and at rest.

Drawing the Head and Hands, also released last year, offer a masterclasses in tackling what comic artists often find the most difficult elements in figure drawing, but world-class illustrator Andrew Loomis’s classic primer offers plenty of solutions.

In May, Titan published Successful Drawing - a superb resource covering all the techniques needed to master three-dimensional drawing that has been many an artist's bible for 60 years. From the fundamentals of proportion, placement, perspective, planes and pattern, through a detailed examination of scale and the effects and capture of light, to the mastery of conception, construction, contour, character and consistency, Successful Drawing is filled with step-by-step instruction, professional tips and beautiful illustration.

In October, Titan will publish the fourth facsimile in the series – Creative Illustration, considered Loomis’s magnum opus, which is aimed primarily at the professional-level illustrator.

It’s divided into seven sections: Line, Tone, Colour, Telling the Story, Creating Ideas, Fields of Illustration, and Experimenting and Studies. The book is filled with instructions, tips, insider experiences, and incredible illustrations and definitely one for artists' wish lists, and a title I've often suggested as a resource elesewhere on downthetubes.

Born in 1892, after studying art, Loomis moved to Chicago where he eventually opened his own studio – working in editorial and advertising for most of the top clients of the time, including Kellogg’s, Coca Cola, Lucky Strike and many others. He also became renowned as an art teacher and his instructional books on illustration and art  - which also include Fun with a Pencil and The Eye of a Painter - are acclaimed classics in the field.

As well as Alex Ross, Dick Giordano, and Steve Lieber, among others, have cited the influence of Loomis on their style and studies. Steve Rude named one of the characters he drew in the Nexus comic book General Loomis.

Andrew Loomis: Wikipedia Entry

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Random Art: Max Bertolini

Megara by Max Bertolini
Max Bertolini, one of the contributors to SciFi Art Now, has had a long, varied and successful career. The image I've featured here - 'Megara,' the cover for the January 2005 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction - was shortlisted for a British Science Fiction Association Award in 2005.

Fantasy and SF Magazine January 2005. Art by Max Bertolini
Born in 1967 in Milan, where he lives and works, Max didn't attend art school and his skills are self taught. As a child, he was fascinated by American superhero comics, and the fantasy and science-fiction art he saw on magazines and book covers. But what finally pushed him to life as an artist was the first issue of Nathan Never when it was published by Sergio Bonelli Editore in 1991.

The cover was a revelation for Max, because it combined his old love of science fiction and the Italian adventure comic book genre, and prompted him to send a few illustrations of Bonelli¹s comic book hero to the publisher. Bonelli soon responded, and he has been drawing Italy's best known and best-selling comic serial since 1993. More recently, he's provided some stunning covers for Marvel Comics, featured here in our quick interview with the artist published in 2010.

After a few years working in comics, he began to feel they weren¹t enough for him and started a second career in illustration, his art reflecting a strong concern for the beauty of naked human form, his work encompassing almost every genre, from from fantasy to science-fiction, passing through horror and thriller.

Max says he enjoys depicting far alien landscapes and, as the illustration I've featured here illustrates, they are one of the distinctive features of his art, together with his fascinating and graceful warrior women, all of them represented with a deep consideration for contrast and chiaroscuro.

Max is one of the cover artists of Eura Editoriale and Mondadori, the main Italian publishing house, while in the evenings he even finds the time to teach Cartoon and Illustration at the Accademia dello Spettacolo in Milan.His work is known all over the world with his fantasy and sci-fi cover published in the US, France, Germany, Spain, England, Russia and China.

For anyone interested in Max's art, you might want to try and track down a copy of Revelations: The Art of Max Bertolini, a 128-page hardcover art book published in the UK by Paper Tiger, which collects the best of his work. German publisher MG Publishing has also published another art book featuring his art entitled, simply,The Art of Max Bertolini.

- Check out his web site at:

- Max Bertolini inteview on SciFi Art Now



Friday, 8 June 2012

In Memoriam: Ray Bradbury

The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
The following tribute to author Ray Bradbury has been posted on, but I preface it with my own short thank you to a great novelist, whose work I much enjoyed as I grew up in the 1970s, his short stories among those of many SF authors I much enjoyed and which helped shape a lifelong passion for science fiction and comics. 

I regularly trekked to the library in St. Ives where I grew up to find SF collections - Asimov, Clarke and Bradbury being the principal authors I'd find, although by the 1970s I was also buying SF thanks to Panther Books and New English Library, among other UK publishers. It was Bradbury's short stories I most enjoyed, not just the better known Martian Chronicles but his other one off stories, like the one about the man who kills someone and then spends the entire night trying to wipe his fingerprints from the crime scene - and is still doing it when the police take him away.

Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury
Bradbury's stories were more about the human condition than hard SF but his focus on character and theme is what, for me, made his work so appealing. 

I've also featured the covers of some of his books that I recall helped attract me to his work, as well as some striking images inspired by it.

Here's the official tribute to a great man.

Ray Bradbury, recipient of the 2000 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, the 2004 National Medal of Arts, and the 2007 Pulitzer Prize Special Citation, died on June 5, 2012, at the age of 91 after a long illness. He lived in Los Angeles.

In a career spanning more than seventy years, Ray Bradbury has inspired generations of readers to dream, think, and create. A prolific author of hundreds of short stories and close to fifty books, as well as numerous poems, essays, operas, plays, teleplays, and screenplays, Bradbury was one of the most celebrated writers of our time. His groundbreaking works include Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man, Dandelion Wine, and Something Wicked This Way Comes. He wrote the screen play for John Huston's classic film adaptation of Moby Dick, and was nominated for an Academy Award. He adapted sixty-five of his stories for television's The Ray Bradbury Theater, and won an Emmy for his teleplay of The Halloween Tree.

In 2005, Bradbury published a book of essays titled Bradbury Speaks, in which he wrote: "In my later years I have looked in the mirror each day and found a happy person staring back. Occasionally I wonder why I can be so happy. The answer is that every day of my life I've worked only for myself and for the joy that comes from writing and creating. The image in my mirror is not optimistic, but the result of optimal behavior."

The Silver Locusts

He is survived by his four daughters, Susan Nixon, Ramona Ostergren, Bettina Karapetian, and Alexandra Bradbury, and eight grandchildren. His wife, Marguerite, predeceased him in 2003, after fifty-seven years of marriage.

Throughout his life, Bradbury liked to recount the story of meeting a carnival magician, Mr. Electrico, in 1932. At the end of his performance Electrico reached out to the twelve-year-old Bradbury, touched the boy with his sword, and commanded, Live forever!

Bradbury later said, "I decided that was the greatest idea I had ever heard. I started writing every day. I never stopped."

Rest in peace, Ray. Your fire will burn many forever.


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